How To Ensure Your Mobile Game Will Survive Soft Launch?

The soft launch period is the time when the game is being tested in a limited environment. It is perhaps one of the most important moments for a mobile game, it is when you test your game in some countries or audiences before going global.

Every day spent planning the soft launch on the right platforms is crucial, as well as analyzing the metrics and results in the first days. The soft launch will show whether your game has sufficient player engagement and if its monetization model can provide enough revenue so you can pay for all the costs during production.

Sounds like a lot of pressure right? We can help you with a few main points that you need to pay attention to.

Target and Audience

When you are planning a soft launch for your mobile game, you have to consider the countries where you are going to run your acquisition campaigns. The language is an important factor, if your game is in Spanish, then it would not make sense to launch your campaign in France because sometimes the translation might take time and not be that accurate, damaging the user experience.

It's important to have in mind how many competitors you have in the market where you want to launch. Some markets might have an abundance of games similar to yours, and it will be more difficult for you to acquire new users.

Although most countries already have a large pool of users that are gamers, try to understand which target audience you are looking for, in terms of game genre, age, gender, etc…This will help to know in which places you will have more probability of addressing those who are more likely to play your game.

Also, remember that users in different countries behave differently,  try to understand and do research on how much money users are willing to spend on in-app purchases and ads in your game genre in different countries.

Google Beta Testing

Google Play's Beta program is a great way to test your game before it goes live to the public. During the beta testing period, you can see how large groups of players interact with your game and use that information to perfect your product. Once you've set everything up, you'll want to decide what kind of testing to use. Google offers three options: Internal testing, Closed testing, and Open testing.

Internal testing is only available for people inside of your organization, closed testing is available for a larger group of testers and isn't publicly available and Open testing will make pre-release versions of your game available on the Google Play store. It’s a great way to do a proper soft launch and also the games in the beta testing program will not get reviews on the store, so you have plenty of time to fix any bugs. 

App Store Optimization

When you are in the soft launch phase, you need to make sure you’ve got the most appealing app store pages possible. The algorithms in app stores always rank apps against keywords, their descriptions, and their titles.

The soft launch is the best time to start with keyword research and optimize app store visuals.

Focus on a different icon, screenshots, and feature images and test them multiple times to improve conversion rates and therefore decrease your game’s cost per install, a very important metric on the first steps of your user acquisition strategy. 

User Acquisition strategy

Creating a user acquisition strategy for a soft launch is a little bit different from an app that already has several users and wants to scale. First, you need to know how many new players need to download your game every day for you to be able to make statistically data-driven decisions. To reach a decent number of players, start running broad campaigns using Facebook, Google, or Ad Networks. After a few days/weeks when the media sources also have enough data, they will be able to start targeting users that might have a better interest in your mobile game. 

Diversifying your user acquisition portfolio is one of the most important parts of the growth and monetization stage because different channels will bring you different users and also different ROI (Return on Investment), you need to find which is a better fit for you. 

Soft-launching allows developers to collect data, identify bugs, and receive early feedback from players. But the soft launch period isn’t just for testing the product. UA teams should be using this period to test and optimize every aspect of marketing. Pay attention to the Retention, Daily Active Users, Average Revenue Per User, etc… 

Executing a soft launch with an effective user acquisition campaign is challenging. These points offer some context on the importance of meticulously managing every detail during this critical phase of your mobile game's launch.

Gladly, the Rocket Lab team has already helped several developers to have their successful soft launches with customized strategies.

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